21 Beautiful Beaches near Philadelphia (Free & Paid)

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Are you ready to escape the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia? With its vibrant city life, it can be easy to forget about the beach – but fear not! From New Jersey’s pristine shorelines to Delaware’s relaxing vibes, there are plenty of beaches near Philadelphia that you can visit for an unforgettable day in the sun.

So grab your sunscreen and dive into this list of 21 beaches near Philadelphia.

Beaches near Philadelphia Map

Closest Free Beaches to Philadelphia

While there aren’t as many free beaches as those that require a fee for use, there are still some great options! These are some great free beaches near Philadelphia.

1. Beltzville State Park, Pennsylvania

Distance: 78 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes

Beltzville State Park is a great free beach destination for those who live near Philadelphia. Located in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, the park has a small beach on the state park’s lake.

While it’s not the stereotypical stunning beach on the ocean, Beltzville State Park’s beach gives you a little variety with the lake and wooded scenery.

The swimming beach at Beltzville State Park is especially popular. Visitors can relax on the warm sand, swim, or take a kayak out onto the lake. Fishing is allowed in some areas of the lake, so don’t forget your rods!

A bathhouse and concession stand are also located near the swimming beach.

After spending time on the beach, visitors can explore some of the park’s other attractions like hiking trails and picnic areas.

2. Wildwood, New Jersey

Distance: 91 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes

From the first moment you arrive in Wildwood, you can feel the energy of this beach town – it’s alive with excitement!

The five miles of wide, sandy beaches are free to visit and stretch for as far as the eye can see – perfect for a day spent in the sun. And if you’re looking for more than just soaking up some rays, Wildwood offers plenty of activities such as its famous boardwalk, amusement piers, and waterparks to enjoy.

The boardwalk itself is a sight to behold – hundreds of people walking along the wooden boards that lead from one end of town to another. In between, there are plenty of shops and eateries to explore.

What really sets Wildwood apart is its carnival-like atmosphere that can be felt all around – music singing from speakers, laughter echoing off the buildings, and an overall sense of fun! It truly is a unique place that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

The energy of this beach town is infectious and it’s easy to see why so many people come back year after year. If you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation spot or day away from the city, then look no further than Wildwood – you won’t be disappointed!

3. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Distance: 124 miles
Drive Time: 2 hr, 15 minutes

Access Rehoboth Beach at sunrise for beautiful views of the ocean from the beach near Philadelphia.
Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is a beach town known for its clean water (previously awarded five stars by the National Resources Defense Council), wide patrolled beaches, and old-school wooden boardwalk. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to soak up some sun and swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s only a small community of one square mile, but it is the most visited city in Delaware. Beachgoers visit from both Philadelphia and Washington DC! Whether your exploring Philly on a vacation or a local looking to get away, Delaware beaches are the perfect destination.

Attend a concert at the open-air bandstand located right on the boardwalk. Best of all, the concerts are free! Experiencing live music in an open-air venue right on the Atlantic Ocean is such a unique experience. You can also find plenty of shops and cafés along the boardwalk.

Plus, if you’re really into shopping, there’s a huge Tanger Outlet Mall just outside town, only 3 miles from the beach, with nearly 200 name-brand retail outlets. So you can shop ’til you drop after spending a day at the beach!

If you’re looking for a beach getaway that offers beautiful ocean views, clean waters, and plenty of entertainment, Rehoboth Beach is a perfect choice. Enjoy a weekend of relaxation and fun at this charming Delaware beach town.

4. Dewey Beach, Delaware

Distance: 124 miles
Drive Time: 2 hr, 10 minutes

Located just south of Rehoboth Beach, this small town of fewer than 400 people offers more nightlife than its neighbor to the north. Dewey Beach is said to have some of the best nightlife in the state of Delaware, so it is popular with younger crowds.

The atmosphere on the beach is perfect for relaxing during the day. Enjoy taking a slow stroll along the beach, admiring all the amazing sights, sounds, and smells. There are also plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightlife areas to explore within walking distance from the beach. It’s easy to transition from daytime relaxation to nighttime fun!

Accommodation options are plentiful if you want to enjoy an entire weekend away from the city.

All in all, Dewey Beach was a great spot for a lively beach vacation.

5. Bethany Beach, Delaware

Distance: 135 miles
Drive Time: 2 hr, 30 minutes

This quaint beach town is the perfect spot for some peaceful relaxation. The white sandy beaches are absolutely stunning and perfect for sunbathing or simply enjoying the sound of the waves.

Not only is Bethany Beach great for relaxing, but it also offers some fun activities as well – like shopping! There’s a cute shopping area along the boardwalk with local stores and restaurants and a weekly farmer’s market downtown.

All in all, Bethany Beach is a great little beach town that I definitely recommend checking out this summer. Whether you’re looking to relax or have some fun in the sun, this beach town has something for everyone!

6. Ocean City, Maryland

Distance: 150 miles
Drive Time: 2 hr, 45 minutes

Ocean City, Marlyand is one of the most developed and bustling beaches near Philadelphia.

Ocean City, Maryland is the perfect place for a beach getaway a little further from Philadelphia. It would be perfect for a weekend getaway!

The white sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing and spending time with family during the day.

Plus, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. From boat tours to parasailing to mini golf and shopping, you can find something to fit everyone’s tastes.

And if you’re looking for some delicious food and a one-of-a-kind dining atmosphere, Seacrets Bar & Grill is an absolute must-try. Grab a table in the bay, where you can dine with your feet in the water, or one in the sand under the palm trees for a tropical feel.

Ocean City is the perfect place to spend your summer days and experience a vibrant nightlife scene, too.

Beaches near Philadelphia with Entrance Fees

Many of the beaches near Philadelphia require you to pay a fee for a beach tag, which is like a permit to use the beach.

There are options for day-use tags, some weeklong passes, or even seasonal tags for the whole year. Purchase longer-term tags ahead of time, or day-use tags can typically be purchased on-site.

7. Margate, New Jersey

Distance: 62 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 10 minutes

Home to the only elephant on the Jersey Shore, Lucy, Margate is a luxurious residential community. The beaches here are huge, with hundreds of yards of flat white sand leading to the ocean.

Lucy, however, is not a living elephant! She’s a 65-foot-tall (that’s 6 stories!) wooden elephant that has been restored as part of Margate’s Victorian history.

Visiting the park around Lucy is free, but you must pay admission to take a tour of the inside of the elephant. Guided tours are $8.50 for adults and $4 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Two and under get free admission.

There is plenty to do at the beach in Margate City – shopping along the boardwalk, dining at one of many restaurants or just sipping on a cold drink while listening to live music at an open-air bandstand right on the beach.

Margate is a great place to visit for the day or maybe to even have a summer home on a beach near Philadelphia. There aren’t any hotels here, so you’ll have to explore other options if you plan to stay the night.

Enjoy soaking up some sun and swimming in the ocean waters or take in stunning views from the top of Lucy in all her glory.

In short, Margate is an idyllic beach town that offers a unique experience for repeat visitors.

8. Ocean City, New Jersey

Distance: 65 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 5 minutes

This stunning view over Ocean City, NJ beach is one of the closest beaches near Philadelphia.

The long, wide wooden boardwalk of Ocean City, New Jersey is an iconic East Coast staple, and it offers miles of shops, restaurants, cafes, and accommodations.

This small town is said to be founded by a church group that has retained many of its conservative family values – you won’t find any alcohol here! It’s a dry town!

Despite the lack of adult beverages, this island city is still full of fun activities for all ages, and it is a popular family beach near Philadelphia.

From swimming and sunbathing on the beach to fishing and crabbing on the bay side, you can fill a beach day easily with all that Ocean City, NJ has to offer.

Plus, with its convenient location near Philadelphia, it’s easy to get to when you’re looking for a quick beach escape from the city.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet family getaway or an exciting beach escape from the city, Ocean City, New Jersey is a great spot to visit.

9. Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Distance: 65 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 35 minutes

The white sand beaches of Long Beach Island (LBI) stretch for 18 miles along this barrier island and offer plenty to do – from swimming, kayaking, and kiteboarding to simply relaxing on the sand or exploring all that the towns have to offer.

LBI is a summer colony known for its luxury summer homes and marinas filled with expensive yachts but also offers plenty of attractions like amusement parks, miniature golf courses, and lots of places to eat and shop.

During your visit to Long Beach Island, make sure you get to the northern point and see the Barnegat Lighthouse. It’s an iconic scene on the Jersey shore and something different from the sandy beach views.

There is a lot of variety on the beaches on LBI, so exploring each one will give you different vibes. With 18 miles of beaches to explore, you can surely find a spot that meets your needs. Beach badges are required.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an active vacation, Long Beach Island is the perfect destination.

10. Elk Neck State Park, Maryland

Distance: 65 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 20 minutes

If you’re looking for a unique beach escape near Philadelphia then Elk Neck State Park should be at the top of your list. Located on the Chesapeake Bay between where the Elk and Susquehanna rivers meet the bay, this state park offers an array of scenery and activities in addition to the sandy beach. You can also visit the park’s marshlands and wooded bluffs.

The Turkey Point Lighthouse provides an amazing view of both the river and bay, but it requires a hike to reach. The beach, however, offers plenty of room to relax in the sun or take a dip in the water. Day-use fees for the beach area are $5 for out-of-state vehicles.

Plus, there are more than 250 campsites and 16 cabins if you decide to stay overnight – perfect for an extended weekend getaway!

If you’re looking for an adventure close to home then Elk Neck State Park is definitely worth checking out. There are a variety of activities, so you don’t have to lie on the beach all day.

So if you’re ever feeling cooped up in Philadelphia, don’t hesitate to make your way over here and explore all that Elk Neck has to offer.

11. Brigantine Beach, New Jersey

Distance: 67 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 10 minutes

Beautiful beaches near Philadelphia can be found in Brigantine, NJ and all along the Jersey Shore.

This charming beach town is situated just north of Atlantic City and is the perfect spot for a classic small-town beach vacation near Philadelphia.

Brigantine Beach has been featured in publications like TravelMag as one of the most charming small towns to visit in New Jersey. The atmosphere on the beach is perfect for relaxation.

This beach is not free to visit, however. Daily beach tags are $10 and weekly tags can be purchased for $15. Seasonal options are also available.

One of the highlights of a trip to Brigantine Beach is visiting the iconic Brigantine Lighthouse as you enter the island. It’s a beautiful structure that has been standing since 1926. It has been home to the police station and city jail in the past, but it was never a working lighthouse, just a tourist attraction!

Another highlight of Brigantine Beach is the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which aims to rescue and rehab sea animals that need medical treatment, then release them back into the wild. While you can’t actually visit the rehabilitating animals, there is an onsite museum where the work of the center is on full display.

Overall, Brigantine Beach is a great spot to spend a beach day away from Philadelphia.

12. Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

Distance: 74 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 20 minutes

Point Pleasant Beach, an access point to the barrier islands of New Jersey, offers a more family-friendly atmosphere compared to some of its neighbors like Seaside Heights.

Take a slow stroll down the mile-long, wooden boardwalk, or people-watch while enjoying the boardwalk seating at one of the city’s cafés.

The atmosphere here is great for family vacations during summertime. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is particularly fun for kids, with rides and arcade games, and activities to enjoy.

There is a fee for visiting the beach. Daily tag costs vary from weekdays to weekends but are $4-5 for children and $13-14 for adults.

While there is lots of public beach space here, there are also private beach areas. Just be aware when you choose your spot to relax and enjoy your beach day!

Overall, Point Pleasant Beach is a great spot to visit for a classic beach town experience. With plenty of attractions and activities to offer, not to mention the stunning ocean views, it’s no surprise that this beach town is so popular with tourists. While all the attractions and fees are a little more on the pricey side, Point Pleasant Beach could not be excluded from the list.

13. Avalon, New Jersey

Distance: 75 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 20 minutes

It is easy to see why Avalon is known as one of the most luxurious beach towns on the East Coast. The beach house mansions that occupy the shoreline are quite an impressive sight!

The beaches are wide and unspoiled with grassy dunes protecting them from natural erosion. What really sets Avalon apart is its unique location – it’s nestled on the north side of Seven Mile Beach.

You must purchase a tag to visit Avalon beaches. Daily, weekly, and seasonal rates are available. For summer 2023, daily tags are $8 and weekly tags are $17. They can be purchased ahead of time or at the Beach Tag Booth next to the community hall.

What makes Avalon truly special is its “cooler by a mile” attitude. While there are plenty of upscale shops and fine-dining restaurants in town, Avalon also has a much more laidback vibe than some of its South Jersey neighbors. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or an extended stay at this beach paradise, Avalon offers both beautiful beaches and luxurious overnight accommodations.

Avalon is a great beach spot for swimming and windsurfing, but you can also just enjoy peaceful walks on the beach with your dog.

If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway with a more relaxed atmosphere, Avalon is the perfect destination.

14. Sea Isle City, New Jersey

Distance: 76 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 15 minutes

Instead of the loud music and carnival-like atmosphere of nearby Wildwood or the hustle and bustle of Ocean City, Sea Isle City offered a much more relaxed vibe that was perfect for a day spent lounging in the sun. As the motto of the town says, “smile, you’re in Sea Isle City.”

The wide, sandy beaches of Sea Isle City do require a tag to visit during the day in summer months, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Tags can be purchased on the beach from an inspector or at the Beach Tag Office in the Welcome Center. Daily tags are $5, weekly are $10, and seasonal tags are $20-25.

The beaches seem to stretch for as far as the eye can see – perfect for a day spent relaxing in the sand. But beyond that, Sea Isle City also offers plenty of activities at its beachfront promenade lined with shops and cafés, kayaking areas, kiteboarding spots, and boating opportunities!

The energy is calm yet inviting and there’s something here for everyone – whether you’re looking to relax or to stay active – Sea Isle City has it all! Sea Isle City is truly a paradise for beach-goers and vacationers alike.

With its sandy beaches, a bustling boardwalk, and plenty of activities to enjoy, it’s no wonder why so many people flock here year after year.

15. Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Distance: 77 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 25 minutes

This wonderful little beach town on the southern portion of Seven Mile Island is a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beaches are clean, quiet, and perfect for relaxing in the sun or taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

You can also visit the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary, a national landmark managed by the National Park Service. Herons and other sea birds are able to nest here in a safe and protected environment.

Although the area is quite an expensive one to purchase a home in, Stone Harbor is one of the great beaches near Philadelphia for a day trip.

The area also offers plenty of delicious food to enjoy. From the freshest seafood to ice cream, there’s something to satisfy any craving you may have!

And if you’re looking for something a bit more serene, Stone Harbor Point is the place to go – just don’t forget your beach tags! The beaches in Stone Harbor do require a fee to visit.

Stone Harbor is the perfect beach getaway for those looking to enjoy some peace and relaxation.

16. Island Beach State Park, New Jersey

Distance: 77 miles
Drive Time: 2 hrs

Even though Island Beach State Park is still in New Jersey like many of the other beaches on this list, the drive to reach it is only two hours from the center of Philadelphia! This stunning NJ State Park has beaches tucked away in more of a natural setting.

There are 10 miles of beach at this state park, but you can’t just swim anywhere. A one-mile stretch of beach in the middle of the park is designated for swimming, and lifeguards are on duty for much of the summer.

Surfing and windsurfing are also permitted on the southernmost portions of the beaches.

There is a daily entrance fee required to visit the state park.

All in all, Island Beach State Park is an incredible natural place that I definitely recommend checking out this summer.

17. Seaside Heights, New Jersey

Distance: 78 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 35 minutes

Seaside Heights is a classic beach town with a lively boardwalk and plenty of classic amusement park rides. As the setting of the MTV show “Jersey Shore,” you can certainly find a party in this town.

The smooth, white sand beach here is wide and flat. Hundreds of yards of sandy space separate the ocean from the boardwalk area.

There is a daily fee of $10 or a weekly badge rate of $35 to visit the beaches here, making it one of the more expensive spots for a day trip to a beach near Philadelphia.

The energy here, though, is contagious and it was hard not to be drawn in by all the fun! Take a leisurely stroll along the beachfront boardwalk, and if you’re feeling hungry while you explore, there are tons of delicious restaurants along the way.

Seaside Heights is the perfect place for a beachy weekend getaway to relax and have some fun. With its vibrant boardwalk, amusement rides, and beautiful beaches – it’s hard to beat!

And if you’re looking for even more beachfront fun, then head on over to Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey – where there are more thrills and delicious food awaiting your arrival!

18. Asbury Park, New Jersey

Distance: 79 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 25 minutes

Beautiful views and great music can be found at Asbury Park's beaches near Philadelphia.

This city has a great combination of beach fun and music history, making for both daytime relaxation and exciting nightlife. Feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen himself – as a New Jersey native, he had famously played here during his early years and even named one of his albums after this place. Visit the Stone Pony, where he played his first show. Live shows still happen there regularly!

The beach in Asbury Park, where you can enjoy the daytime hours, is lined with a wooden boardwalk, complete with shops, cafés, and arcades. The beach does have a daily pass fee of $6 during the week and $9 on weekends and holidays.

At the northernmost part of the beach, you’ll find the Asbury Park Dog Beach. Bring your pups to enjoy this space where they can roam and play off-leash.

From the boardwalk to the Stone Pony and all of its historical charm, Asbury Park is an unforgettable destination combining live music and beachy vibes.

19. Mauch Chunk Lake Park, Pennsylvania

Distance: 85 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 45 minutes

In the heart of the Pocono Mountains near Jim Thorpe, PA, Mauch Chunk Lake Park offers a beach and swimming on the lake.

The park offers a plethora of activities to explore – including hiking, fishing, camping, and more. The lake itself is incredibly picturesque, surrounded by wooded forests.

There are also plenty of fantastic trails in and around Jim Thorpe to explore, which provide even more breathtaking scenery and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

There is a fee to visit this park managed by Carbon County. The fee is more expensive for those visiting from outside the county.

Mauch Chunk Lake is a great day trip to a beach near Philadelphia where you can enjoy lakeside views rather than ocean waves.

Whether you’re looking for some rest and relaxation or just want to take in all that this beautiful area has to offer, you won’t be disappointed!

20. Cape May, New Jersey

Distance: 93 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes

The town of Cape May has a strong historical feel, which is a little unlike some of the other beach towns we’ve already encountered on this list.

The beaches here are clean and beautiful, with white sand and dark blue waters. There’s plenty to do – from swimming to exploring historic sites or relaxing on the sand. You’ll just need a beach tag!

And let’s not forget about Congress Hall, billed as the nation’s first seaside resort, first opened in 1816! While it has been rebuilt, Congress Hall kept some of the old Victorian charms that make for an unforgettable stay.

Cape May also provides a unique environment for visitors – you can find vintage Victorian gingerbread mansions that have been preserved as part of its history, along with a beachfront boardwalk and pedestrian mall along Washington Street spanning three blocks. It’s definitely a great destination for families, but also perfect for romantic getaways too – some of the local bed and breakfasts even cater to couples!

No matter who you’re traveling with or what your interests are, Cape May is a beautiful seaside beach town on the southern tip of the peninsula.

From the stunning beachfront to the vibrant culture and history, a visit to Cape May is sure to make lasting memories that you won’t soon forget.

21. Smithfield Beach, Pennsylvania

Distance: 110 miles
Drive Time: 1 hr, 45 minutes

Smithfield Beach, on the Delaware River, is a different beach atmosphere near Philadelphia.
the Delaware River

This one is quite different than other beaches we’ve covered so far! Smithfield Beach is situated on the Delaware River, in the heart of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

You won’t find miles of sandy shoreline here. There are much more lush green grassy areas.

Picnic areas and restrooms are available for those spending the entire day by the river. Swimming in the river is also permitted here so you can take a dip to cool off.

It’s the perfect spot for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life without bringing home carloads of sand. Whether you want to go swimming or just relax by the water, this is the place.

There is an amenity fee charged to use this area, which is $10 for entrance by car for up to 7 people age 16 and older, or $2 per person entering on foot or bicycle.

Smithfield Beach is a true gem of the Pennsylvania countryside that offers a fun summer experience for all who visit. It’s a great spot to relax and unwind.

FAQs: Beaches near Philadelphia

What is the closest beach to Philadelphia, PA?

By driving mileage, Margate is the closest beach to Philadelphia.

Which ocean beach is closest to Pennsylvania?

The beaches on the Jersey Shore, including Margate, Ocean City, and Brigantine are the closest ocean beaches to Philadelphia.

Does Pennsylvania have any oceanfront?

Nope. Sorry! Pennsylvania does not have any oceanfront land. Much of the Jersey Shore is not far from Philadelphia, though. There are plenty of lakes and rivers in Pennsylvania where you can enjoy water activities inside the state.

There are plenty of stunning beaches near Philadelphia that make for the perfect day trip from the city or a great vacation destination.

From exciting boardwalks on the Jersey Shore to islands off the coast, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to explore all of those beaches near Philadelphia!